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Some samples of the Soft Parade's worldwide press, newspaper and magazine features, fan reviews and memorabilia:

[Pennsylvania Times News Review - by Joe Plasko]

[Soft Parade Fan Review - by Steve Abeles]

[Soft Parade Review, Grasshopper Magazine]

[Reflections On an Evening with The Soft Parade by "BJS"]

[The First Time - By Dan Lempert]


"The Doors Delivered" by Joe Plasko, Times News

It has been 29 years since Jim Morrison died, but the spirit of The Doors' lead singer lives on in Joe Russo. Russo, lead vocalist and founder of The Soft Parade, brought the band's Doors tribute show to Nardini's in Nesquahoning Monday night, the anniversary of Morrison's 1971 death in Paris. A crowd of almost 400 turned out to see if Russo and company could pull off in performance the look and feel of one of the late 60's most enduring and idiosyncratic bands.

From the opening notes of "Wild Child" to the final flourish of the encore "Light My Fire", The Soft Parade delivered The Doors to an enthusiastic audience of diverse ages. Tribute bands are often a source of skepticism. There's much more to the experience of any group than merely playing the songs and aping stage moves. The result can be parody and even feel a bit ghoulish. That's NOT the case with The Soft Parade, a band which has actually played onstage with original Doors guitarist Robby Krieger. This group has the ability to recreate The Doors heady mix of blues and psychadelia as well as to explore some of the original's improvisational space as well.

A crucial element in any Doors' experience is the keyboardist, and Mike Abel does Ray Manzarek proud, handling both the bass organ and eclectic leads with a seeming ease. From the eerie intro to "Strange Days" and other extended mind trips, Abel powered The Soft Parade's musical machine.

Also impressive were guitarist Mick Overmere, who tossed off the slide guitar on "Moonlight Drive" as well as any number of solos with the dexterity of Krieger; and drummer Roy Weinberger whose array of beats drove The Soft Parade much as John Densmore did with The Doors.

None of it works, however, if Russo can't sell "the lizard king" out front. A remarkable double for "Mr. Mojo Risin' ", Russo not only resembles Morrison physically, but vocally as well. Russo almost appears possessed by Morrison at times; his stage mannerisms could have been lifted from any number of Doors videos, but Russo makes them, and the performance, his own.

The band's first set was filled with some of The Doors' harder edged numbers, closing with a rollicking "Roadhouse Blues" and including favorites such as "Not To Touch The Earth", "Maggie M'Gill", "Break On Through" and "Love Her Madly", reminders that The Doors were always darker than their '60's Flower Power brethren. A version of "Love Street" lightened the burden a bit.

The Soft Parade showcased the Door's experimental side, too, tossing in "Alabama Song" and Otis Redding tribute "Runnin' Blue" along with perennial favorites "L.A. Woman" and "Riders On The Storm" and a rousing "Gloria".

The only thing missing, save a '60's-style light show behind the band, was some of The Doors' more controversial material, such as "The End" or "The Unknown Soldier".

As long as The Soft Parade continues to march to it's Morrison beat, there's one killer that can remain on the road.

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THE SOFT PARADE KEEPS THE DOORS ALIVE by Joe Plasko, Times News

The music of The Doors and the mystique of their late lead singer Jim Morrison remain as powerful today as during the group's heydey of the late Sixties. Songs like "Light My Fire", "Love Me Two Times", "Roadhouse Blues", "L.A. Woman" and "Riders On the Storm" remain staples of classic rock radio and are part of the collective consciousness. It's that legacy The Soft Parade carries into the new millennium. The Soft Parade is billed as the ultimate Doors tribute group, and it brings its show to Nardini's in Nesquehoning on Monday, July 3. That date will bring a nod of recognition to Doors fanatics, as it is the 29th anniversary of Morrison's 1971 death in Paris, France, a fact not lost on Soft Parade lead singer Joe Russo.

To look at Russo is almost like seeing a ghost, as he bears an uncanny resemblance to the charismatic Morrison is his Lizard King prime. As a teenager, Russo recognized that he had more than the look. "I realized I not only had the resemblance but an affinity for Jim Morrison," he said. At the time, Russo didn't know much about the history of the Doors, until he read the 1981 Doors biography, "No One Here Gets Out Alive", by Danny Sugerman and Jerry Hopkins. The Sugerman book revived interest in the Doors, setting off a mid--eighties craze of popularity that included the infamous Rolling Stone "He's Hot, He's Sexy, and He's Dead" Morrison cover.

It was in 1990 that Russo formed The Soft Parade, which is also the name of the Doors' fourth album and its title song. "It took off immediately, like I hoped," related Russo. "We had a definite concept, and I knew it could be successful." Pulling off the look, sound and feel of The Doors is no easy feat. For one thing, the original band didn't have a bass player; keyboardist Ray Manzarek played a bass organ with one hand and leads with his other. In concert, the Doors were improvisational and unpredictable, particularly in regard to Morrison's theatrics. They could be bluesy, jazzy, and psychedelic, not to mention controversial, given Morrison's penchant for pushing the envelope. Russo stresses that The Soft Parade is no mere cover band; it strives to replicate the Doors' live experience at its best. The band actually plays authentic Sixties instruments. "The reason this has the impact it does is because it's not an impersonation. We become the Doors," said Russo. "It's a very natural thing for me. It's in me, and it comes out of me. It's not an impression, it's something natural."

The band has a repertoire of 60 Doors songs. "We actually do a lot of songs the Doors never did in concert, including some obscure stuff," noted Russo. The group has toured abroad and played at the 25th Anniversary Woodstock Concert in Bethel, New York, the only tribute band to do so. The Soft Parade also has a real connection with the original Doors, having played on stage at a 1993 Morrison 50th anniversary concert with Doors guitarist Robby Krieger in Paris. Russo said he has also spoken to Manzarek and drummer John Densmore, the other surviving Doors. In addition, Russo had a brief friendship with the late Paul Rothchild, the Doors' producer. This is the band's second appearance in the area this year. In April, it performed at the Mauch Chunk Opera House to an enthusiastic crowd.

While the Soft Parade keeps Russo on the road for 150 dates a year, it is by no means his only musical outlet. The singer recently recorded an album, "Beautiful Creatures" which was produced by former Rascals' drummer Dino Danelli. "It's totally modern sounding, with no ties to the 60's," he said. Russo pulls no punches as to what someone attending a Soft Parade show can expect. "For fans of the Doors, it's the closest you'll ever come to seeing them live," he said. For more information on The Soft Parade, check its web site at www.thesoftparade.com A local acoustic guitar duo, Chris Davis and Chris Martonyak, will open for The Soft Parade at Nardini's on July 3.

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Steve Abeles' Concert Review
The Soft Parade/Spacegel at Club Bene, Sayreville, NJ

Bene Revisited

Well, The Soft Parade has done it again. On Saturday, April 19th, me and E.J. arrived at Club Bene looking to get blown away by the world's best cover band-The Soft Parade. And that was exactly what happened. We got there at about 7:45 and proceeded to wait around and sit at our favorite and traditional seats. At about 9, a horribly pathetic opening band hops onstage. The lead singer, and ugly dyke, says "Uhh, we're like...Space Gel." At that moment we knew they sucked. But enough about them. As usual, The Parade kept us on our seats with anxiety, they didn't come on until 10:30. They opened with an incredible "When the Music's Over". The whole set-list was freakin' incredible. I'm sure you have seen it on EJ's website. The highlight of the night was definitely the encore. They returned to play "Not to Touch the Earth", "Roadhouse Blues", and "Light My Fire". What a way to end the night. I can't wait until they come again to Bene. We will be waiting....nah yo chill yo.

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Grasshopper Magazine Concert review
The Soft Parade at Zone One, Asbury Park, NJ

It was with great anticipation that I flew back East for a week with one of my main objectives to see New York based tribute band THE SOFT PARADE. It was only six days since Robby Krieger played a historic concert with Wild Child, and I thought nothing would top that concert high. If anyone could though, it would be Joe Russo and THE SOFT PARADE.

In California, THE SOFT PARADE has as much mystery and intrigue surrounding them as the real DOORS probably did. Only a handful of West Coast Doors fans have actually seen THE SOFT PARADE, and they come back with amazing stories and photos of what most say is the best DOORS tribute band they've seen.

In a Grasshopper first, both myself and East Coast Editor Brian went to the same tribute band show. We caught a buzz and listened to both tapes of Weird Scenes Inside The Goldmine" as we drove the two plus hours from suburban Philly to Asbury Park. We arrived real early and killed the time by eating those great Jersey shore clams at the only eatery left on the boardwalk, and downing a few cold ones at a nearby 'club' next to The Stone Pony, where Blind Melon were performing the following night. Many DOORS fans prior to going into Zone One went across the street to the pier under Convention Hall- where the real DOORS played on August 31,1968. Here they prepared themselves for the Doors experience by fixing their heads and watching the waves of the Atlantic Ocean. It was probably the same way in '68.

The show finally started at 10:30 PM. As the band took the stage and broke into a "Back Door Man/Maggie M'Gill" medley I was amazed not only at Joe Russo, but also haw the other members of the band also looked like The DOORS. Keyboardist Ryan Daily not only had the total Ray Manzarek look, but also played both organ and piano bass with separate hands- the first time I've seen a tribute band do this. Guitarist Chris McNeil not only plays a Robby Krieger-type Gibson SG, but even has the crazy Krieger hair, and turned out to be the best guitarist of any of the seven tribute bands I've seen. Drummer Roy Weinberger didn't really have a John Densmore look to him. But it didn't matter as he played perfectly as well.

Russo was wearing all black leather and sang, danced, and played maracas and tambourine just like Jim, setting the crowd, in particular a group of British college co-eds on holiday in the states, 'on fire'. Joe's singing voice heightened the performance as they jammed through all the Door's classics and many obscure ones as well, such as Someday Soon from the Seattle bootleg, which was requested by German Doors fanzine head Rainer Moddemann who was also at the show, and "Runnin' Blue" which really had the crowd going. Joe Russo sang the entire song through himself, and didn't split vocal duties with the guitarist like the Doors did.

"Gloria'-'was performed the way Jim would've wanted - with the X-rated line included. The Soft Parade was combined with "Peace Frog" to produce a unique medley, and "Light My Fire" was a twenty plus minute jam with Fever/Summertime Blues/St. James Infirmary included. Joe even did a costume change in between sets (which were each about 60 minutes long), coming out for the second time wearing a blue button shirt, and shades, just like on the box of the video The Soft Parade. This band is so tight that they exactly reproduce The Doors note for note. I have never heard a tribute band sound so much like the real Doors. This combined with the medium sized but loud crowd started to make me think if The Soft Parade didn't in fact outdo Wild child the previous weekend. They probably did; considering it wasn't at The Whiskey and a member of The Doors didn't play with them. If a band can sound so good and have the crowd going nuts without those extra benefits they must be great.

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Reflections On An Evening With The Soft Parade

The poster advertising The Soft Parade show offers a good question: What was it like seeing Jim Morrison and The Doors live?

After seeing Joe Russo and The Soft Parade I can only say that it was awesome, and that the "real" Doors must have been absolutely mind-blowing. To say that Soft Parade put on a good show is a vast understatement. In fact, as I sat down to write a reviewof the show I was at a loss for words to accurately describe the events of that evening.

The Doors used to refer to their converts as religious experiences. For me, this show was exactly that. I stood in the second row close to the stage and was transcended into the shaman's world of Jim Morrison. Jim, through his disciple Joe Russo, then took me on a journey into a new world for a few--all too brief--hours. Because of the close visual similarities, I felt like I was witnessing The Doors--Jim, John, Ray, and Robby--just like they were when they played to sold out crowds in 1968.

Listening to the Soft Parade I entered a strange, new world and began to experience emotions and feelng, that were all new. I sung along with Joe, danced on fire, and tried to absorb the tremendous energy coming from the band. I had come to the altar and Joe and The Soft Parade were communicating the Doors message to me throughout the night.

I would guess that most Doors fans would like to be like Joe Russo, even for just one concert. Russo looks like Morrison, acts like Morrison, sings like Morrison, and has a mysterious aura like Morrison. Who hasn't dreamed of being Jim Morrison? I know I have ... many times. We want to be able to experience exactly what Jim did: the ability to captivate an entire audience, sing Light My Fire as the crowds go wild, have all the girls begging for you, all of the perksof the rock star's lifestyle. Anytime you grab the microphone at Karaoke, you believe you're Morrison, or Daltry, or Plant, or whoever, but unless you have the Jim Morrison "look" you'll never be able to truly experience those things that Jim did. Just like Val Kilmer did in the Doors movie, Joe Russo brought the spirit of Jim alive again. I really felt like I was watching the man who I've spent more time listening to, reading about, and viewing on video tape than any other human being that walked this planet. I'd love to step into Joe's boots for one concert but I know it'll never happen. As John Lennon once said, "I'm just a jealous guy."

In retrospect, the Soft Parade show was a milestone in my life. There are only a few events in life, a graduation, a marriage, the birth of a son or daughter -- that have a significant enough impact on your life to alter your perception of things. This convert did. I'm not trying to be over-dramatic. It is just that for years I have wondered, "What was it like seeing Jim Morrison and the Doors live?" Even though the Soft Parade aren't the real Doors, I feel I've gained a glimpse into the transcendental experience that a Doors show could provide. Now I know. I've been to the Promised Land. It was an evening that I will never forget because I felt closer to the Doors spirit than ever before.
-BJS

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Meadowlands Racetrack Concert Review

After viewing many Soft Parade shows, I will never forget the first. The show was at the Meadowlands Racetrack. Everyone seemed anxious, but nothing prepared me, or even many of the others for what would come. I expected a group of four people just to play some of the Doors music, and that would be the show. I sure was wrong.

The group took the stage without the singer. The group started playing, and eventually when it was time, "Jim" entered. It was very scary at first. Everyone just freaked for a sec, then turned to see what the others thought. We all were thinking "What the hell is this? I thought Jim was dead!" Every detail in "Jim" was just like the real Jim Morrison.

The show was just a blowout! Perfect everything, but what made it even weirder was what came when the band started playing Riders. They got into the song, and just at the perfect second, thunder started, and there was a light drizzle. At that moment, I turned to my Dad, and we knew it was a sign. "Jim approves" my Dad said. Whenever I think about wishing I could have gone to see the Doors, now all I do is go see the Soft Parade. It is a MUST for every Doors lover.
- Dan Lempert

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